By Floyd Godfrey, LPC, CSAT candidate
His Wife's response to his pornography addiction in Mesa, Arizona was profound. She felt like she’d been stabbed. Sometimes it even hurt physically. She tried to be understanding and supportive, and on the outside she was able to say the right things. But her response inside was torture. She had never experienced anything like it.
Some days were better than others, but she was often plagued by anxiety throughout the day that sometimes escalated into hyperventilation. She had difficulty sleeping and became physically exhausted during the day. Her ability to take care of the kids diminished, and she was increasingly impatient with them. Her confidence began to wane and she was filled with thoughts of doubt about her looks and personality. Over time she pulled away from her friends, and began to isolate herself.
A wife’s response to her husband’s porn addiction is something that has been largely misunderstood. Women were often labeled “codependent” and told to stop hovering over their husband. Sadly, we now understand that most wives’ response to their husband’s porn addiction falls into the category of Trauma. And a traumatic experience is NOT something that can be controlled. The brain will naturally dump cortisol into the bloodstream (among other biochemicals) and create physical sensations in the body that make it hard to think clearly.
Upon discovery of his porn addiction, did you experience any of the following trauma symptoms?
1. Difficulty sleeping or nightmares.
2. Depression or anxiety.
3. Sudden loss or sudden increase in appetite.
4. Stomach aches or headaches.
5. Emotional flooding.
6. Constant thoughts about his behavior.
7. Rage or uncontrolled anger.
8. General sense of impending fear or doom.
9. Feeling numb.
It’s important that a woman understand to identifying any trauma response she’s having. Without the proper label, she might start to blame herself or think that she is flawed in some way. Symptoms of trauma do not indicate weakness or fragility on the part of the spouse. Trauma is a very real physical sensation that impacts the body in profound ways. A wife’s response to his porn addiction may be incapacitating, but it is very common.
It’s important to seek professional intervention with a counselor who understands relational trauma. General counselors will often take wives into a direction that is more “coping”-oriented than “healing”-oriented. The impact of such interventions is less effective, more time consuming, and often does very little to resolve anything. Call us for a free 15-minute consultation with one of our therapists trained in pornography addiction in Mesa AZ (480) 668-8301.